Use of Fish-Habitat Models in Restoration Planning, Design, and Evaluation

Year: 2022
Presenter/s: Phil Roni
Symposium Session: 2022 - 07 Putting the Fish into Fish Habitat Restoration
Topics covered: fish-salmon, fish-steelhead, and modeling


Advances in remote sensing, monitoring, and data analysis have results in numerous approaches to quantify current and future fish habitat and fish abundance and capacity at multiple scales. These approaches range from models that estimate fish survival, capacity, and productivity at a watershed-scale to site-specific habitat suitability or food web models that examine fish production at a reach scale. Many of these models are being used as tools to improve the identification, prioritization, design, implementation, and evaluation of restoration projects for salmon and steelhead recovery. In this talk, we provide an overview of existing and novel fish-habitat models and their utility in various stages of the habitat restoration planning and implementation process. We first describe the various types of life cycle, limiting factors, food web, and habitat suitability models and analyses that are being used to assist with watershed assessment and habitat restoration. Next, we discuss the utility of these various fish-habitat models at identifying, prioritizing, and designing habitat restoration projects for fish. We then examine their ability to evaluate the effectiveness of habitat restoration projects at increasing fish abundance, survival, and capacity. We discuss the pros and cons of different models and analytical approaches and how they can be used to adaptively manage restoration projects and programs to create projects that benefit salmon and steelhead. Finally, we close with recommendations for additional data collection and analyses needed to improve the utility of fish-habitat models to assist with implementing successful fish-habitat restoration projects.